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Feature Article

© EK Cameron-University of Glasgow

Old & New: The Perfect Balance


EK Cameron

Last September, my daughter began her studies at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Her new city has a long history of being the industrial engine for the modern Scottish civilization. The university itself was founded in 1451 with many established old, traditions that will soon be the norm for an 18-year-old who has welcomed these new challenges.


During a visit deep into the autumn season I walked down Kelvin Way, the main pedestrian parkway leading onto the campus where many of the colorful leaves had already fallen to the ground. I am totally immersed in the college-student life for a couple of days, feeling a spacious and abundant energy as I walk through this beautiful campus of ancient buildings. All the possibilities of a new beginning for the freshmen class still linger, cool air and warm sun giving dramatic but harmonized encounters as they pass by. Glasgow city itself is famous for having a wet climate but the rain I feel this morning is gentle and nourishing, a stark change from the dry wind last night. I find beauty in this balanced nature and can't help but feel grateful. 


I find balance in all places, elements complementing one another, even if it’s on the cusp of a change in seasons. Just like that, the wet and cold are welcomed by the sun rising with warmth and dryness over the university tower this morning. The space is filled with beautiful lime-stone structured buildings where these young minds are stimulated and their dreams and goals manifest. My experience takes me back to the teachings of Ayurveda.


Ayurveda, as a sister science to Yoga, is an experiential process. Ayus means Life, Veda means Knowledge and Science. The Science of Life, Ayurveda, began in India and has weaved itself throughout our lives bringing together diverse cultures over thousands of years. 


I grew up with my mother and grandmothers brewing honey ginger tea for an upset tummy. Without any specific explanation, I received their knowledge and experience with love and nurture. Through the Ayurvedic lens, this tea not only has a medicinal quality of resettling Agni (digestive fire), but the warmth for grounding emotional digestion. 


To help understand this ancient health system, we look back to its foundation. In Ayurveda, there are 5 elements which make up the basic constitutions of our manifestation: Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Within these dominant qualities are three elements that circulate in our body to govern physiological activity called Doshas. The characteristics of these elements are defined as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha:


Vata dosha includes the elements of space and air. Infinite possibilities rising from nothingness, creativity and opportunity for a beginning that is easy, light and effortless. It has a cool quality and lightness.


Pitta dosha is made up of mostly fire and a small contribution of water. Fire is the physical, mental and emotional power for digestion, the Angi. Pitta dosha is hot, precise, sharp, organized and passionate.


Kapha dosha represents the structure of earth and water elements. Kapha provides us the opportunity for manifestation in a more solid way by holding the space and structure for nurturing and caring. Kaphas are usually cooler, slower, yet solid and trustworthy, comforting and nurturing.


We each have a combination of one or two dominant doshas which can explain many aspects of how we live and feel physically, mentally and emotionally in the world. By balancing our original constitutions, we are able to live our lives in flow and good health.


These Ayurvedic elements are everywhere in Vedic tradition, from the four seasons to the hours in a day. Daily clocks run in doshic times; early mornings are in Vata, before Kapha, hours adjust to the light slowly flowing to midday when the sun is at the highest during the Pitta hours. 


The seasons of the year are also characterized by a corresponding dosha. Springtime is Kapha, with slow and steady growth coming from nothingness to newly planted bulbs sprouting from the ground. Summer is Pitta season, hot and humid yet active and busy. Autumn is the season of Vata, cool and dry. A new beginning for many. Like my daughter and her classmates at the start of their academic year in Scotland. 


I invite you to explore your own personal dosha type/s and discover the doshic balance to feel your best in daily activities and in health. Interested? Click on the websites below to answer a few questions to determine your primary and secondary doshas:


EK Cameron

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